Juliet Landau-Pope of JLP Coach is a certified life coach and professional organiser. She declutters homes and coaches clients by phone/skype to overcome procrastination.
There’s a lot of talk nowadays about decluttering but there’s more to it than just tidying up. It’s about learning to make decisions and focusing on what matters most.
In today’s fast-paced consumer society, we constantly acquire things but don’t learn to let go so readily. We shop around the clock and update belongings – from coats to kitchenware, toys to tables – more frequently than ever before. We also fill our homes with gifts, souvenirs and heirlooms.
People hold onto items they no longer use – or even like – for various reasons. So, clutter can represent a complex tangle of hopes, aspirations, fears and fantasies. Meanwhile, it can cause considerable stress, especially if you’re dealing with difficult transitions such as divorce or bereavement.
My role as a declutter coach is never to judge what or how much anyone should own. I simply define clutter as whatever’s getting in YOUR way.
Here are my top tips to tackle household clutter:
- Be positive
Frame goals in positive terms. Rather than thinking or talking about ‘getting rid’ of stuff, focus on creating more space, light or tranquillity. Visualise the outcome and imagine the benefits.
- Be particular
It’s easy to be distracted so break down a project into small and manageable tasks. Take stock of each category of clothes or toys, for example. Start somewhere that will make a visible difference but not challenge you emotionally. Leave photos and personal papers till later.
- Be purposeful
Find meaningful ways to part from things you no longer need or want. Let others benefit from your quality clutter by donating to charity shops – nothing is ever ‘too good’ to give away. I offer advice about community reuse events and local recycling too.
- Praise yourself
Let go of self-criticism and celebrate progress – even if it feels like the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Before and after photos can boost motivation. And don’t forget to share your success with others. Your enthusiasm will motivate them to declutter too!
- Get professional help
Decluttering on your own can be daunting but with the right kind of assistance, it’s liberating and even fun. I offer practical help and emotional support to empower you to shift habits as well as surplus stuff.